Skip to main content

How the Canadian government plans to handle questions about UFOs

The Canadian government has a plan if questions about unidentified flying objects are raised in Parliament.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra would lead the response to UFO-related questions in the House of Commons, according to documents obtained by Acquired through an access to information request, the documents also include UFO talking points prepared for the minister's office and emails about a May 11 UFO briefing attended by his staff.

"(The minister's office) has requested a brief on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, specifically (Transport Canada)'s role and additional pertinent information," reads a May 6 email to Transport Canada's safety and security group.

Earlier that morning, published an article on a UFO briefing former Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan received nearly a year prior, in May 2021. That briefing came in advance of a U.S. intelligence report on military sightings of "unidentified aerial phenomena," or UAP, which was made public in June 2021.

Additional emails from May 6 reveal quick co-ordination between staff in the defence and transport ministers' offices, who "discussed and agreed that (the transport minister) would take any questions that could be raised in-House on this matter," a Transport Canada email from that afternoon explains, referring to the House of Commons.

"To support Minister's prep on this issue, please provide a (Parliamentary Information Card) on this topic by noon Tuesday May 10th," the email continued.

Other internal emails show how Transport Canada staff worked through the weekend to create the Parliamentary Information Card, which consisted of three pages of talking points and background information on how Canada's federal transportation department receives UFO reports, which are then published in an online aviation incident database.

Known as CADORS, the Civilian Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System database is peppered with nearly three decades of strange Canadian sightings from civilians, soldiers, police officers, air traffic controllers as well as pilots on military, medical, cargo and passenger flights operated by WestJet, Air Canada Express, Porter Airlines, Delta and more.

One report from July 2021 describes a Canadian military transport plane and a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines passenger flight that both "reported seeing a bright green object fly into the clouds and then disappear" over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The Canadians "thought it was flying" while the KLM crew "thought it was space debris."

"Although further investigation into UAP sightings falls outside of (Transport Canada)'s mandate, (Transport Canada) is open to continued collaboration with other departments and committed to the safety and security of Canada's aviation industry," one of the "SUGGESTED RESPONSES / KEY MESSAGES" in the Parliamentary Information Card states.

In the event of questions in the House of Commons, the Parliamentary Information Card also included a section labelled "IF PRESSED."

"Recent media articles report minimal government funding in Canada on UAP research compared to the US, and a collaborative approach to standardizing the collection of data across federal agencies is suggested," the section's final point reads.

Obtained through an access to information request, the below emails and three-page 'Parliamentary Information Card' show how Transport Canada staff prepared for potential questions about UFOs in Parliament. has redacted email addresses and phone numbers for privacy. Click here for a full screen view of the documents.

In the U.S., both the Pentagon and NASA are currently studying unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP -- their preferred term for what are more commonly known as unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. The Pentagon appears to have been engaged with the subject almost continuously since 2007.

"We know that our service members have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena,” Ronald Moultrie, the American intelligence official who oversees the Pentagon’s current UFO research office, told U.S. lawmakers on May 17, during the first congressional hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years. “We're open to any conclusions that we may encounter.”

For its part, the Canadian Armed Forces states that it does "not typically investigate sightings of unknown or unexplained phenomena outside the context of investigating credible threats, potential threats, or potential distress in the case of search and rescue."

Transport Canada also cautions that reports in its aviation incident database "contain preliminary, unconfirmed data which can be subject to change."

In a statement to, a Transport Canada spokesperson confirmed that the UAP briefing occurred on May 11 and was attended by staff from the transport minister's office.

"The Government of Canada takes UAP reports seriously because they can present a real threat to aviation safety, such as an unidentified drone or rogue balloon," the spokesperson said via email. "We should always consider how we can improve the safety network, including taking in reporting from other department sources."

In a previous media statement, a Transport Canada spokesperson said, "Reports of unidentified objects can rarely be followed up on as they are as the title implies, unidentified."


Representing Thornhill, Ont., Member of Parliament Melissa Lantsman is the opposition's transport critic and one of two new deputy leaders of the Conservative Party. Lantsman says Canada should be working with the U.S. and following their lead on UAP "without an automatic dismissive response."

"Rather than ridicule and silence, it would be wise to look at this issue, with the objective of identifying the origins and intent of these UAP," Lantsman wrote in an email to "We believe the government should adopt a streamlined, whole-of-government approach to standardize the collection of reports across numerous departments and contractors... Efforts should be undertaken to investigate and make those findings public in a responsible manner."

With a lack of official data, other Canadian MPs have also been seeking information on the topic.

John "Jock" Williams spent more than two decades flying fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and later worked as a Transport Canada flight safety officer for over a dozen years. He thinks both of his former employers should be following up on the credible UFO reports they receive, like those from fellow pilots, even if people are actually just seeing relatively ordinary objects like drones and balloons.

"There is nobody in the Canadian government that's looking in sufficient depth into this," Williams, now an aviation consultant and frequent media commentator, told from Toronto. "I am as mystified as anyone as to what is flying in our skies without our understanding or permission."



ANALYSIS What do the policies Poilievre's party passed say about the Conservatives' future?

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre spent the summer speaking about housing affordability, a core focus that attendees at the party's Quebec City convention were quick to praise him for. But by the end of the weekend, delegates opted to instead pass policies on contentious social issues. What does that say about the Conservatives' future?



opinion Don Martin: Poilievre doesn't feel your pain, but he's sure good at communicating it

Probably no other leader, including Justin Trudeau, has landed in a party leadership with less real-world work experience than Pierre Poilievre, says Don Martin in a column for But Poilievre's an able communicator, and this weekend's Conservative convention is a golden opportunity for him to sell himself as PM-in-waiting.


opinion Don Martin: Who will step up to have 'The Talk' with Trudeau?

Ego and vanity are a potent combination in leadership politics, and in his exclusive column for, Don Martin writes this condition is infecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mindset as he seems deadly serious about seeking re-election in 2025. Top Stories


LIVE UPDATES Polls closed, results start to roll in for election day in Manitoba

Polls are closed and results are coming in what will be a historic election for the province. The Progressive Conservatives' Heather Stefanson is looking to become the first woman elected premier, while the NDP's Wab Kinew is looking to become the province's first First Nation premier. Follow along for live updates on candidates, voting information and results.

Stay Connected